Highlands & Islands

North Coast 500 doctorate launched

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Media captionThe three-year study will be accredited by the University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is to support a postgraduate place linked to the North Coast 500 (NC500) touring route.

A PhD student will study aspects of history associated with the route, working with the tourism body NC500 initiative.

Launched in 2015, the designated route has led to a significant increase in visitor traffic to the north Highlands.

Backers said the plan will add "layer and depth" to visitors' experience.

Dr Iain Robertson of UHI said: "It's vital. It's absolutely vital to have something like this. History, culture, identity make the region.

"These are questions that a PhD student can address and will address.

"To my mind it's a no-brainer. It should be done."

Image copyright BBC Alba
Image caption The North Coast 500 has some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe
Image copyright BBC Alba
Image caption Ullapool is one of the towns on the North Coast 500 route

It is hoped the postgraduate student who takes up the place will make research material available through a digital app.

NC500 managing director Tom Campbell added: "The North Coast 500 for me is much more than just a touring route. It's about adding layer and depth to experiences in the north Highlands.

"Having the PhD is just fantastic because that way we know that we're getting someone who's going to be working with people in the north Highlands actually going to be looking in depth at the history, the culture and all the things that make up the wonderful North Coast 500."

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